Domestic violence is sadly very common in the United States, and men and women can both suffer from it. It can feel impossible to try to navigate getting out of an abusive relationship or finding a safe place to go after a domestic violence incident occurs. Some people opt to press legal charges, which can help keep them safe as they work through what to do next. Are you able to file a domestic violence charge? Find out, or read on to learn more about what domestic abuse is and what you can do if someone you or someone you know is a victim of it.
What Is the Definition of Domestic Abuse?
The National Domestic Abuse Hotline defines domestic abuse or violance as, “a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over antoher partner in an intimate relationship.”
Most people only think of physical abuse when they hear the term “domestic abuse”, but it can actually emcompass a wide range of abusive and manipulative behaviors. Some of these other behaviors can include intense financial control, verbal assaults, or emotional manipulation.
How Can I Recognize Domestic Abuse?
Domestic abuse isn’t reserved for one type of person, and anyone can become a victim of it regardless of who they are or how they look.
Some signs that you or someone you know may be the victim of abuse include intimidation through words or actions, regular and harsh insults, destroying your possessions, controlling all of your decisions, making you avoid contact with loved ones, and so many more.
What Can I Do If I’m a Victim of Domestic Abuse?
If you are experiencing domestic abuse, one of the best things you can do is document the abuses you experience. This can be in a private online or paper journal, and it should include what you experienced, how you felt during and after the event(s), the dates and times of the events, any injuries you sustained, and photos if household goods were damaged or visible injuries show.
If you have been physically harmed, seek medical care even if no bruises or bleeding occur. You can also file a police report if you are in a safe place away from your abuser. After abuse occurs, documenting your experiences may be extremely difficult, but detailed accounts can be helpful for legal reasons and prove the abuses you have suffered.
What Can I Do If a Loved One Is a Victim?
It can be agonizing to see a friend or family member deal with domstic abuse, and it can lead you to feel utterly powerless. If it feels safe, you can try talking to your loved one about your concerns during a calm moment, starting with phrases such as, “I’m concerned…” or “I have noticed…”.
Some victims may not want to talk, but you can help them feel supported by simply being there for them and letting them know that you care.
There is no easy solution to “fix” domestic abuse, but being aware of the signs and knowing what steps you can help get you or a loved one out of an abusive relationship and into a safer place.